September 6th- On a brisk and bright Saturday morning, we harvested our Union Gap estate fruit for the first time, to process in our new Yakima Valley winery. Moments after harvesting, the deeply purple 2014 Union Gap Syrah arrived on the crush pad. These beautiful clusters were delivered by Jared Bates, the son of our long time vineyard manager, Roger Bates.
Before noon, all 9.3 tons of perfectly ripe Syrah was destemmed and resting in the cool cellar awaiting the addition of yeast. During the fermentation process the yeast metabolizes the natural grape sugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. The CO2 preserves the fermenting wine from oxidation and then dissipates – during the fermentation the crew “punches down” the cap of skins back into the fermenting grapes to extract color and flavor.
Next week when there is no sugar left for further fermentation, the wine will be gently pressed and collected into barrels for the “elevage” or barrel aging cycle. Harvest 2014 will go down as the earliest on record, producing ripe wines with plenty of personality and flavor. Cheers!